R2P: The Next Decade - Marking Ten Years of the Responsibility to Protect
The Stanley Foundation
Courier, Number 74, Spring 2012
Earlier this year, the Stanley Foundation, along with the MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, organized an event titled “Responsibility to Protect: The Next Decade.” The daylong conference was intended to mark the tenth anniversary of the “Responsibility to Protect” concept and chart a path toward more effectively halting and preventing genocide and mass atrocities around the world. The event featured an all-star lineup of panelists and participants including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon along with many original members of the International Committee on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) that launched the “Responsibility to Protect” report in December 2001. (…)
(…) The Stanley Foundation has long been active in helping the world promote and live up to the ideals of R2P. We have organized many conferences and dialogues on the topic, commissioned original writing and analysis, and produced a widely distributed event-in-a-box toolkit titled Before the Killing Begins: The Politics of Mass Violence. In addition, the foundation has been honored by the presence of Francis Deng and Ed Luck, two prominent community. Once, vocal groups of nations could claim that most domestic cases of mass violence were internal matters unsuited for discussion at the international level, including the UN Security Council. Today, that idea no longer holds sway.
In this edition of Courier, former ICISS Cochair Gareth Evans gives us a quick overview of how R2P has developed over the last ten years. He says, “The principle is firmly established and has delivered major practical results. But its completely effective implementation is going to be a work in progress for some time yet.”
Around the world today, from Syria to Libya and Côte d’Ivoire, the idea of R2P animates the debate about global responses. Foundation program officer Sean Harder reports on how policymakers and experts at the New York conference considered these present day applications—from Gareth Evans who expressed concern that R2P may be undergoing a bit of a “midlife crisis” to Knut Vollebaek who wondered what happens when the “international community…fails to take up this responsibility?”
Finally, in this issue of Courier, foundation program officer Rachel Gerber looks beyond the horizon at the challenges R2P will face in its second decade of existence. She reminds us that at the 2005 World Summit, leaders “reinforced R2P’s focus on peaceful, preventive means” rather than pigeonholing R2P as merely a rationale for military intervention. As Gerber points out, “Setting the sights of global policy to prevent rather than simply respond to mass atrocity threats raises deeper questions about the internal dynamics that drive atrocity violence.” Answering these questions and responding to those dark motives will be vital for R2P’s future.
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